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Race Rewind: 2009 Breeders Crown

Published: October 24, 2019 11:20 am ET

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On this day 10 years ago, the horse racing world witnessed a rare display of power and perfection courtesy undefeated sophomore trotting colt Muscle Hill.

As the industry gears up for another Breeders Crown weekend in Canada, with another Brian Sears-driven sophomore trotting colt garnering headlines by the name of Greenshoe, Trot Insider goes back to October 24, 2009. The location was Woodbine Racetrack, and the eyes of were on Muscle Hill. Riding a 19-race winning streak into the 2009 Breeders Crown Final and never having a rival within a length of him at the wire, the Greg Peck-trained Muscle Hill marveled fans and industry participants alike.

“He’s the best I’ve ever seen,” Hall of Famer Bill O’Donnell was quoted as saying. “He’s the next thing to Mack Lobell....he’s so versatile. All those wins were impressive. Like the Hambletonian. He just walked around there, a mile in 1:50 (an all-age World-Record-equalling trotting time of 1:50.1). He’s just head and shoulders above them all.”

In his swan song, Muscle Hill went out as a champion and was once again head and shoulder above them all in a 1:54.1 win, knocking off a pair of rivals that have gone on to decent stallion careers of their own in Triumphant Caviar and Swan For All. Of course, Muscle Hill has cemented his legacy through his progeny that have dominated the trotting ranks for the last decade, with stars the likes of Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder, multiple world champion Manchego, Green Manalishi S, When Dovescry and The Ice Dutchess all competing this weekend.

Muscle Hill Goes Undefeated At Three

World champion Muscle Hill capped off his phenomenal career in style with another top-notch triumph in the $617,880 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Colt Trot Saturday evening at Woodbine Racetrack.

Hot Shot Blue Chip (Mike Lachance) and Tom Cango (Tim Tetrick) were the early breakers as Swan For All (Ron Pierce) leapt to an early two length advantage from Post 7 with the 1-9 overwhelming favourite, Muscle Hill and Brian Sears, getting away fourth from Post 1. At the :28.3 quarter pole, Sears sent Muscle Hill first-up and the talented trotter landed the lead at the :57.2 half-mile marker. After settling on top, Muscle Hill fired off a 1:24.1 third quarter and kicked away by two and a half lengths for the 1:54.1 triumph.

Triumphant Caviar (Luc Ouellette) was the runner-up. Swan For All finished third after making a break off the final turn, but was placed back to sixth for moving inside the pylons and gaining an unfair advantage. Fourth place finisher Neighsay Hanover (John Campbell) inherited third.

Greg Peck trains the winner for owners Jerry Silva, Muscle Hill Racing LLC of Long Beach, New York, T L P Stable of Kearny and Southwind Farm of Pennington, New Jersey.

The son of Muscles Yankee-Yankee Blondie has won 20 consecutive races since finishing second in his career debut at two on July 3, 2008 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. With the win, Muscle Hill became the third trotter to earn Crown titles in both his two and three-year-old seasons joining Malabar Man (1996-97) and Mack Lobell, who won three Crowns (1986-88). He has also earned victories in the Peter Haughton, Hambletonian, Canadian Trotting Classic, Kentucky Futurity and World Trotting Derby amassing $3,318,682 lifetime and making him the second trotter (along with Deweycheatumnhowe) to surpass $3 million in earnings before turning four.

"I still remember meeting Greg Peck at the bar in Harrisburg, and he told me he came there for one horse," recalled owner Tom Pontone in the winner's circle. "I asked him what he liked most and it was the video.

"I would never have guessed we'd get two Breeders Crowns. We were just looking for a solid trotter. He's the best trotter I've seen in the last 25, 30 years."

Muscle Hill will hang up his racing shoes and head to Southwind Farms of New Jersey to begin his stallion career.

"I can't wait to race his foals, I would have loved to keep seeing him on the track but it's time for him to go to stud."

"It's emotional but I'm excited to see him go to stud," added co-owner Lou Pontone.

Jerry Silva, member of the Muscle Hill ownership group: "You're always nervous before a race. The one hole made life easy for us. Brian knows Muscle Hill and Muscle Hill knows Brian. They're a great twosome. To finish the year undefeated is amazing. I never had a horse, in all my years of racing, that was undefeated. And he did it. He did it like I knew he would do it."

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